… Says In 2022 The Unit Lost Four Officers in Active Service while Confronting Smugglers
The Federal Operations Unit (FOU) Zone ‘A’ of the Nigeria Customs Service has revealed that as part of it’s anti-smuggling activities in 2022, a total number of 108 automobiles comprising of trucks, tankers, cars and motorcycles were seized either as smuggled items or means of conveyance of smuggled items.
Acting Controller of FOU, Kehinde Ejibunu stated this on Thursday at a press conference in Ikeja, Lagos.
He said that four officers of the unit lost their lives in active service while confronting smugglers last year.
Ejibunu said that the activities of customs FOU Zone ‘A’ covers six states of the South-West namely: Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ekiti and Ondo states.
According to Controller, between January to December 2022 we made a total seizure of smuggled items worth a duty paid value of N13,908,575,436.5.
Apart from these, the unit realized the sum of N878,344,486.96 as revenue for the government in 2022.
The items seized included;
foreign parboiled rice, vehicles, drugs, textiles, petroleum products and other items in the import and export prohibition lists.
In terms of volume, rice topped the list of our seizures.
“We seized 93,102 X 50kg which amounts to about 156 trailer loads of rice. Even our newly constructed warehouse had an overflow of seized rice.
Illicit drugs seized within the year under review are; 2,354 kg and 4,976 tablets of Cannabis sativa, 233 cartons X 225 milligrams, and 82 packs X 225 milligrams of Tramadol. It is pertinent to remind us that these hard drugs fuel crime and insecurity.
“For petroleum products, this Unit seized 656,414 liters of premium motor spirit (PMS); that is, about 20 tanker loads of fuel from economic saboteurs who seek to impoverish the majority of our country people by taking out petrol subsidized for citizens’ benefit to be sold in other countries.
“We arrested 176 smuggling suspects last year, secured 7 convictions, 14 were charged to court and are at various stages of investigation and prosecution, 7 suspects are in detention; 2 suspects were handed over to NDLEA, and 1 suspects was handed over to the Nigerian Police respectively, while 151 are on administrative bail.
“On a sad note, four (4) of our officers namely; Late Inspectors of Customs TP Astor, and A Onwueguzie, and Assistant Inspectors of Customs, Musa, R and Bristol, E lost their lives in active service while confronting smugglers last year.
While we frowned at such murderous acts, we also ensured that those behind some of the killings were arrested to face justice” Ejibunu stated
The customs FOU boss appreciated the Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col Hameed Ali (Rtd) and his management team for their unflinching support throughout last year and the previous years.
Speaking on his projections for year 2023, Ejibunu assured that the unit would sustain and increase the tempo of its anti-smuggling operations, ensuring zero compromise as usual, arresting perpetrators and seizing their wares.
He advised smugglers and their collaborators to seek legitimate means of livelihood in 2023 as the Unit will continually make life unbearable for them through interdictions, arrests, seizures and diligent prosecution.